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Iowa safety Xavier Nwankpa expected to start in Music City Bowl
Former five-star recruit had mostly played on special teams in regular season
NASHVILLE — Iowa safety Xavier Nwankpa is slated to make his first start Saturday in the Music City Bowl, defensive coordinator Phil Parker said Friday.
Parker has been “really impressed with what he's doing” in the pre-bowl practices.
“He’s done a really good job of taking a lot of reps,” Parker said. “The improvement with his understanding, the way he moves on the field has changed in the last three or four weeks.”
Nwankpa, a former five-star recruit from Southeast Polk, has played mostly on special teams as a true freshman.
Parker did not specifically say which safety position he will start at, but strong safety would be the most likely spot following Kaevon Merriweather’s decision to opt out. Cash would be another possibility.